A Helping Hand

Students in the “Move In Crew” — shown in blue t-shirts — decorated campus with balloons and signs.

Paige Gaddy (second from right) moves a new student’s belongings from a golf cart into Randolph Hall.

A student’s dad rests in Randolph Hall.

New students move into Virginia Hall.

A group of new students congregate on Campus Walk on Move-In Day.

Students greet each other on Ball Circle.

New students meet each other during Welcome Week.

A family says goodbye in front of Virginia Hall.

The UMW mascot, Sammy D. Eagle, greets new students on Move-In Day.

UMW faculty gathered in their academic regalia for Honor Convocation on Sunday, August 25.

Faculty, staff and incoming students gathered on Ball Circle on Sunday night for Eagle Gathering.

Eagle Gathering, started in 2012, brings the campus community together for an evening of reflection on UMW’s values.

During Eagle Gathering, students light candles, listen to guest speakers, and sing the alma mater.

A golf cart pulled up to the front of Randolph Hall, loaded down with the makings of a college bedroom and a new life at the University of Mary Washington. Within seconds, volunteers, including senior Paige Gaddy, swarmed the vehicle, snapped up boxes, welcomed the new students, and quickly put anxious parents at ease.

“It was nice to see the smiles on the faces of incoming students and their parents as they were surprised that they were receiving so much help,” Gaddy said. “Not only is it a positive experience for incoming freshmen and their parents, but also the move-in crew. I was surprised at how much volunteering for move-in got me excited and ready for the year to begin.”

Senior Paige Gaddy (second from right) helps move a new student's belongings into Randolph Hall.

Senior Paige Gaddy (second from right) helps move a new student’s belongings into Randolph Hall.

She was on the other side of the equation just a year ago. She transferred to UMW in 2012 after receiving an associate’s degree from Tidewater Community College.

Gaddy was one of 150 upperclassmen who woke up early on Friday to move their newest classmates, both transfers and first-time freshmen, into their residence halls. This year UMW welcomed close to 350 transfer students to the university, in addition to more than 900 first-year students.

“When I started thinking about it, I knew I wanted to do anything I could to help other people transition smoother,” she said of her decision to volunteer for move-in day. “I know what it’s like to come in knowing no one. I know what they are feeling. I know where they are. It’s ok to be a little bit scared.”

Despite her initial nervousness, Gaddy quickly became at ease at UMW, joining the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, diving into business classes and snagging an internship at Hilton Garden Inn over the summer.

“It represents the university well to know that 150 students, like Paige, took the additional time out of their summers to help incoming students,” said Megan Higginbotham, assistant director of student activities and orientation coordinator. “It shows how focused these students are on serving each other and the community.”

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.

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